Jack Goulding opened proceedings appropriately with Billy Collins's 'Today' ('a spring day so perfect...'). He was followed by members of the I form sets reading two Seamus Heaney poems ('When all the others were away at Mass' and 'Mother of the Groom'), and then a group of poetry in romance languages, including Latin (Sadhbh Sheeran), Catalan (Cecilia Duran-Basso), Spanish (Richard Hartweck), Portuguese (Rebecca Jetter), Italian (Maria Trigo Puig) and French (members of Mr O'Shaughnessy's set). They were followed by the first staff reader, Mr McCarthy, who recited 'The Parthenon', a poem written by a Chaplain from the 1940s, F.A. Evelyn.
Following Irish (Mark Crampton), we headed back to more foreign-language poetry - German (Johanna von der Marwitz), Japanese (Saya Kasuze), Norwegian (Hakon Schug) and Arabic (Dena al Hamdan). A regular feature next - an entrant to the national Poetry Aloud competition, this time Henry Carroll with 'The Cold Heaven' by W.B. Yeats. Molly Buckingham followed, sportingly reading a poem on skiing (she had a close encounter with an Italian mountainside over Easter and is only just off crutches).
The second staff member was Mr Jones from the Science Department, with Paula Meehan's 'Solace'. Three more foreign poems followed: Dutch (Pascal Dillenberger), Ukrainian (Anton Lysenko with a first) and Benin (Iyobosa Bello-Asemota).
This year's two poetry prize winners delivered a poem each from their winning portfolios - Lucia Masding (junior) and Sadhbh Sheeran (Senior), and they sandwiched Chinese (Mantak Suen) and Irish (the Senior Prefect Hamish Law read the latter, a poem by Máirtín Ó Direáin, as well as translating it). And finally, Candela Casasus read the perfect summer love poem, 'He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven' by W.B. Yeats:
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
We headed back out into the late evening sunshine, refreshed by our encounters with great literature from around the world.